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NEW ORLEANS — Aptly or paradoxically, thousands of the world’s leading cardiologists descended on the home of beignets, bouillabaisse, and beers sold to-go for a weekend-long dive into the latest developments in the science of keeping hearts beating healthily.

While some noisy new data on a cholesterol drug consumed much of the oxygen, and the dawn of a new era of obesity treatment hung over the proceedings, there was time enough at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting for academic debates over just how to mend a broken heart, the role of artificial intelligence in guiding treatment, and whether cardiovascular health is a convincing reason to get a flu shot.

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